Developmental Editing Services

You want to write a book, or perhaps you started writing a book. Maybe you’re stuck, or maybe you’re not happy about where the story is—or is not—going. It’s time to share your manuscript with a trusted developmental editor who can help you refocus, structure your work, and finish strong.

Oh hey, that’s me!

Developmental editing goes way beyond grammar, punctuation, and syntax. First and foremost, I focus on big-picture story elements such as plot, voice, characterization, setting, and pacing. I also check for problems such as inconsistent tone or an unclear or shifting audience target (as with a non-fiction book). I offer two kinds of developmental editing services: Editorial Review and the Substantive Edit.

Editorial Review

Rate: $.04 per word USD

Traditionally called Editorial Letters. For an Editorial Review, I’ll read your in-progress novel manuscript (or whatever you’ve completed) and then write a candid, honest letter addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript with respect to its plot, characters, setting(s), and pacing. If it’s a non-fiction work, I’ll also discuss how the text stays focused on (or strays from) its intended audience and/or the consistency of the text’s voice.

Damien has found the perfect balance of constructive feedback. He has a clear command of the English language and not only edits for proper grammar and syntax, but explains why something is wrong, which allows the author to remedy any future mistakes. He opened my eyes to the habitual errors in my writing while simultaneously instilling a confidence in me. He’s easy to work with, keeps in constant communication, and is downright friendly and funny. I will continue to use his services and recommend Purple Spekter to both friends and colleagues.

Justin A.

The Substantive Edit

Rate: $.07 per word USD

Traditionally known as line editing. For the heavy-lifting Substantive Edit, I’ll provide an editorial review and fully edit (line or copy as appropriate) the manuscript in the form of MS Word comments and track changes. Sometimes, extreme substantive editing borders on copy editing, which means you’ll receive a significantly edited manuscript with several thousand track changes. That can be overwhelming, but don’t worry—I have your best interests as a writer in mind. I will also create a style guide or reference sheet documenting your writing style decisions while making concrete suggestions that will help you improve your writing craft.

Damien is honest, talented, and wonderful to work with! I’ve worked with other editors in the past and no one can compare! It feels amazing to have finally found someone I can trust… someone I know is going to do an amazing job. I will never work with anyone but Damien on future projects.

Tara B.

What Makes a Great Author-Developmental Editor Relationship?

Communication and Collaboration

I like to communicate with my clients throughout the process and ask questions as they arise that help me understand things. If you have a world built somewhere, having access to that will help me check your fidelity. If you have your own style guide like I do, having that on hand will help the process as well.

Mutual Trust and Respect

As an author myself, I know how important it is to receive honest, candid feedback from others about my drafts. To be honest, receiving that feedback is downright scary, too. That’s why my working relationship with client authors must be one of mutual respect and trust. I’m here to help you succeed and improve as a writer, not destroy your ego or writing.

The manuscript and any documentation provided by you, the client, remains your intellectual property. I have no problem with a non-disclosure agreement, and I can provide one upon request. With your permission, I’ll add your book to my Purple Spekter™ Portfolio page, which doubles as a book store.


You have deadlines, and I will do my best to honor the schedule we agree upon. Before we start, we should both review, understand, and acknowledge your publication schedule.

  • Me: I will not overbook and jeopardize work with other clients. After all, you wouldn’t want me to do that to you, right? That said, I will immediately communicate any unforeseen events in my life that may impact an agreed upon deliverables schedule. I’m transparent; you can view my workload on Trello.
  • You: It’s very important to understand that delays on your part become delays on my part. I may not be able to deliver in less time if you are late handing off your manuscript or revisions. Please be realistic about your ability to finish the manuscript review, and communicate with me if you need more time.

Ready to Get Started?

Let’s find out if we’re a match. Fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch!